JC: What can the church in the west do to help?

 

AJ: Let me make a couple practical suggestions.  First of all whenever you see news from there ask the question is there a church?  I open the book with the story of a young Christian girl who was at the site of a suicide bombing.  Often when we see the news of some horrific attack or a terrorist attack we don’t stop to think are any of my brothers and sisters caught in that?  And they have been.  And also on the Palestinian side when Israel does an attack on Gaza are any of my brothers and sisters caught in that?  So I would say that’s the first thing.  Just think about that, be aware of that. 

 

Second then is to pray for the church and there’s a lot going on.  There’s the Palestinian Bible Society, there’s the Bible Society of Israel.  Those two groups are having tremendous ministry.  We need to pray that the word of God will get out into more hands and that these ministries will be effective because the only hope for peace is that the Christian, what we call the Light Force, shines the light in the midst of that darkness. 

 

And then some people may feel the desire to go and I’ve no problem with tourism, going and seeing the sites in the Holy Land but let me just suggest that while you’re there go and visit one of the congregations.  Visit the messianic congregation in Natania (?) or you know there’s probably a hundred messianic congregations in the country. 

 

Why not visit one of them on a Saturday evening or if you want to be bold go into Bethlehem and worship in one of the churches in Bethlehem and in that sense you’re not just visiting dead stone, you know historic sites but you’re also visiting the living stones and it’s tremendous encouragment to our brothers and sisters when you are there in person to be with them.  Because now you have a personal relationship with some of those people and you care about what happens to them and you want to pray for them.

 

JC:  Can you comment on how the through the love of Christ we can reach anyone, even Hamas?

 

AJ:  I think you’re touching on a very important point.  I sometimes wonder if we as Christians really believe it in fact you know I think we say God loves the whole world, everyone needs to hear the Gospel but then we hear news of a terrorist group doing some atrocity and what’s our reaction?  Let’s kill them, let’s wipe them out.  I mean I’m not saying everybody thinks that way but our tendency is to think of them without putting a face on those – they’re just a nameless enemy rather than a human being who may be desperately searching for answers.

 

  and this point I’m gonna talk personally because that was the biggest eye opener for me on my first trip to Israel when Brother Andrew was trying to make that contact with Islamic Jihad we met this man who was kind of the gatekeeper to the head of Islamic Jihad and after he had kind of checked us out and set up the appointment he said, “I want to ask you guys some questions.” And what was so surprising to me is here’s a man first of all saying, “I’ve spent 15 years in prison and while I was in prison I read the Koran and I read the Bible and that’s when I decided to become a committed Muslim.”